I’ve been using iOS7 on my iPhone 5 for a couple of weeks now, and overall I’m not that pleased with it. There is nothing new that is of major use to me, there are few little niceties added, some things which are backward steps, a few interesting but useless things, and a some annoying bugs added.
Things I like about iOS7:
- The screen for turning on/off Cellular Data is one level higher up in the Settings hierarchy.
- The way in which you can switch between or close running apps after double clicking the Home button. I particularly like that you can close the app that you were currently viewing.
- In the camera, swiping left/right to change camera modes.
- In Safari:
- the method for viewing/switching between open tabs.
- having a unified URL/Search input box.
- Being able to slide anywhere on the lock screen to unlock.
- Being able to see the delivered timestamps on individual messages in the Message app by swiping to the left.
- Being able to open the “Spotlight” search from any home screen by swiping down.
- Calendar app: Infinitely scrolling view, and year view.
Things I don’t like about iOS 7:
- I’m not a fan of the new UI aesthetic. It’s bland and flat and boring. It looks like its been left out in the desert sun and faded. In some places the UI elements are hard to see because they have light gray on a white background. Also light gray on white icons gives the false impression that buttons are disabled. (e.g. in the Clock App) The UI looks like it was designed by the same people who designed the Microsoft Windows 8 UI. Yuck.
- Apple Maps still suck.
Things I’m ambivalent about in iOS 7:
- The slide up control panel. Yes its nice to be able to easily get to some settings like the flashlight and WiFi/Bluetooth toggling, but the setting I use the most is toggling Cellular Data on/off and that’s not there. But Airplane mode is there. Seriously, how often does the average user need to turn on airplane mode? Also, although I’m not keeping count it seems that I accidentally open the control panel about the same number of times that I intentionally open it to do something. I could do without this new feature
Cool but useless things in iOS 7:
- The 3D look on the home page and Safari tabs, where the perspective changes as you tilt the iPhone. Nice, but a battery drain, so I turned it off.
- Spirit level in the Compass App. Maybe one day I’ll have a need to use this and I’ll bump this item up into the “Like” section. I can’t envisage how or when.
- The Album wall in the Music App (that replaced Cover Flow). While its nice to be able to see more albums on the screen compared to Cover Flow, it’s still highly problematic in that it shows every bit of music you own. This means that a mediocre song that you download as the free Single of the Week gets the same prominence on the wall as your favourite album with a dozen classic tracks. It would be nice if the album wall only showed entries where you actually owned the complete album.
Major faults/bugs/problems in iOS 7:
- Synchronising of smart playlists doesn’t work reliably, in fact synchronising in general I’ve found to be pretty buggy.
- Smart playlists are not doing live updates on the iPhone, only when syncing via iTunes
- The way the Music App shows albums in the “Artists” section is just awful, a real backward step from iOS 6.
These major faults/bugs are all related to the music app, and I’ll deal with them more fully in separate posts, including some workarounds that I’ve found.
So in summary, with iOS 7 the Apple Overlord giveth, but the Apple Overlord has also taken away. There’s not a whole lot to praise here, and in retrospect I would have been quite happy to stay on iOS 6.